The Web and the Word

We are greatly blessed by our Father in heaven with daily bread, forgiveness of sins and the promise of a kingdom to come as revealed in the Lord’s prayer. But along with these blessings we have been charged in Matthew 28:19-20 to:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [ESV]

The Great Commission, as given directly from the lips of Jesus, has not changed. But even though the mission remains as true and constant as the Lord himself, we live in an ever changing 21st century world.

The technical revolution has reached epic proportions, especially in information technologies. In fact, I am writing this from my living room recliner on a laptop computer over a home wireless network connection which leads to the Internet. That means that as soon as I click on the virtual “button” on my computer screen, this article will be available for you or anyone else in the world with access to the Internet to read my words as we move toward the “end of the age.”

In the sovereignty of an almighty God, the existence of this incredible communications network is as much a part of His plan to spread the gospel as the Roman highways Paul used in his travels during the first century. The web server which holds the audio recordings of sermons from the Christ Church pulpit corresponds to the manuscripts laboriously carried from town to town bringing light and hope to a hopeless first century world.

Each week the biblical message is brought as the clear, undeniable authority guiding our lives in this modern, debauched world almost halfway around the world 20 centuries beyond the travels of Paul. We are charged to continue with the same gospel message to OUR world, using the tools the Lord has provided, even if those tools are also used by others for immoral purpose as the Roman highways were used for greed, slavery and empire-building.

Jesus entered this world, not only to fulfill the prophesies, but to make clear the gospel message. In the High Priestly Prayer he explained the relationship of his disciples to the world in which they live and move:

But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. [John 17:13-19, ESV]

In keeping with Jesus’ words we are now charged to take the truth delivered from this pulpit to the world by whatever means the Lord provides. The Internet, as evil as it sometimes becomes, is a dangerous place. But we have the assurance that Jesus has already prayed that we be kept “from the evil one,” and it is in that assurance that we can live and move and proclaim the gospel worldwide, at the touch of a button.

Even with this small congregation of 100+ on a normal Sunday morning we now have the capability and charge to magnify the message delivered here to a potentially world-wide audience. In fact, we are already delivering those messages to more visitors on the web than actually fill the pews on Sunday. If we fulfill our calling here, the Lord will appoint those He chooses to hear via the web the same message we experienced in our regular weekly worship services.